Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

November 15, 2011

I’ve realized that changes I’ve made lately have two types of reasoning behind them. The good reasons and the real reason. People would ask me why I did what I did, and I would always conjure up some recent study or higher purpose to back up my cause, but those were all just good reasons. The real reason is that I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Get out of my comfort zone, endure short term stress or loss, and reap long term benefits. Here’s my list so far:

1. Go vegetarian

Growing up, I was a huge meat eater. Naturally, at first, it was difficult for my body to adjust to the new diet. I had low energy, a pale face, got sick all the time, and most of all, I missed eating my favorite food group. Fast forward two years, and I feel stronger and healthier than ever. When someone at home gets sick, usually everyone else gets sick, except me. Even if I do get sick, my symptoms are much more mild and go away more quickly. I have to admit though, after some self debate and perspective from other vegetarians, I switched from a strict 100% vegetarian diet to about 90%. I call myself a weekday vegetarian for fun, but please don’t think labels are important. I have white meat a few times a month. When my wife and I had our honeymoon in St Lucia, I went all out and tried every kind of meat and fish there was. It was delicious. The most important thing is that I am happy with my new diet choice and with the flexibility I gave myself.

2. Stand up at my work desk

About a year ago, I decide to stand while I do my web development desk job. I hacked together some desk parts and boxes to raise my monitors, keyboard, and mouse, so I could stand while working. The first few days kicked my feet’s butt butt’s feet. After standing all day, I would put my feet up to give them a rest as soon as I got home. Day by day, my feet got stronger. Soon, I would barely notice that I’ve been busy working and standing up for hours. Today, just like with the flexibility of my weekday vegetarian diet, I stand about 75% and sit 25% of the time that I’m at my desk. I bought the Ergotron Workfit-S sit/stand desk stand, so I can easily and quickly switch positions.

3. Ban violence

A month ago, I made a conscience decision to ban violence from my life, including violent TV, movies, and games. I quit playing Fallout 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and stopped watching The Walking Dead, Terranova, Breaking Bad, and many other shows. It was surprisingly easy to do all of this. As a bonus, I now have a lot more time on my hands to spend on my family, business, and hobbies. I had an incident last Friday when I forgot about the ban and played some CoD: MW2 with some co-workers. Does team building exercise count as a good excuse? Anyway, just like with the other changes I’ve made, I like to have the flexibility of being accepting if I make exceptions once in a while (like for Avengers when it comes out).

Getting out of my comfort zone has helped my mind and body grow and adapt everyday. This philosophy of stretching boundaries and being malleable is preparing me to better deal with future challenges and situations that may be uncomfortable.

What do you think? Do you agree that it’s important to do stuff to get out of your comfort zone everyday? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to do so?

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